O is for Orange juice can curlers and On-the-roof suntans. Fifteenth of 26 posts in the April 2021 Blogging From #AtoZChallenge. Theme: “Endwell: My Early Teen Years”— adding my story to the family history mix. Please join me on the journey.
During my early teens in 1963-65, the favored hairstyle was straight, shoulder-length hair with a flip at the bottom — sometimes teased at the top for what today’s stylists call “elevation.”
Alas, my curly brown hair had plenty of elevation — especially when it was rainy or humid. The trick was trying to flatten my hair and straighten my curls out.
One sure-fire method was to set my hair using orange juice can curlers. The Hair Do magazine cover below gives you a relatively fancy idea of how this worked.
Air dried coiffure
In my early teens, large curlers, blow dryers and myriad hair products were not yet commercially available. So we curly-haired girls turned to DIY solutions — stockpiling frozen orange juice cans until we had enough to cover our heads.
Most of the teen girls on my block, and even some of the moms, set their hair this way — then wrapped a light chiffon scarf over the top so their coiffure could air dry. Thus it was normal on our street to see females at work and play with a head full of curlers.
I became adept at using the orange juice can curlers in my early teens — but when I couldn’t air dry in the daytime, I’d have to sleep overnight with them in. Ouch!
The only way to do it was to hang your head off the bed — which made for a challenging night’s sleep. Fortunately, chemical hair straightener kits came out in my later teens and I was able to give up the OJ curlers for good.
Getting an early tan
Another beauty challenge for teen girls in the early 1960s was having a good tan over the summer. There were no sunscreen creams back then. In fact nobody was aware of the damage the sun’s rays could do to fair skin — and being fair, I usually burned my first time or two in the summer sun.
My teenage girlfriends and I exchanged tips about this tanning/burning problem, and the accepted solution was to start your tan as early as possible and build it up gradually.
So some time after Easter — when it was often still cold out with frosty nights — I’d lay a blanket down in our back yard at high noon, put on my bathing suit, and start working on my tan. Brrrr!
Eventually, this gave way to a new and improved procedure: I’d climb onto the roof of our porch (the same one where I read Edgar Allen Poe) and start my tan up there, where the dark roofing was a bit warmer.
Sometimes my girlfriend from up the street would join me. And there, on high — with our hair carefully set and clad in our modest two-piece bathing suits — we’d start our on-the-roof suntans to be ready for the summer.
Up next, P is for Peg: My mulitasking mom. Please leave a comment, then join me as Endwell: My Early Teen Years unfolds one letter at a time!
© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.